With the current lockout putting the NBA season in jeopardy, college basketball could bring some much needed excitement to basketball fans. For most teams, the regular season tips of this Friday, November 11.
The most enticing matchup on Friday night is the North Carolina versus Michigan State game. A Big Ten and ACC matchup is always fun to watch but the main reason is because UNC enters the game as the number one ranked team in the country. Here are a few of the biggest storylines entering the 2011-2012 college basketball season.
First is North Carolina’s run at the championship. I know it’s way to early to start talking championship talk, but the Tar Heals are extremely talented. They are starting ahead of the pack in the ACC this year and should definitely be the favorite to win that conference. A young Tar Heal surprised many by making it to the elite eight last year and are coming back this season with more experience, as all five starters are returning.
Next is Kentucky’s young talent. Once again John Calipari is bringing in the top recruiting class to Kentucky. What’s different is he has two of his best players returning from last year in sophomores Terrence Jones and Doron Lamb. The team will have to replace Brandon Knight and Josh Harrellson. How do they plan on doing that? How about by getting the number one recruit in the nation in Anthony Davis and a five star recruit in point guard Marquis Teague. They also have five star recruit Michael Gilchrist joining the team. Calipari is used to having loads of talent and once again he’ll have to formulate a way to get the most out of it. If the hype on these young freshman is pans out the Kentucky Wildcats will be truly elite.
As I mentioned above, Kentucky has three five star recruits and has tons of freshman talent. Some other big time freshman recruits are Duke’s guard Austin Rivers, Florida’s guard Bradley Beal and Indiana’s forward Cody Zeller. Rivers, whose father is Boston Celtics head coach Doc Rivers, is extremely athletic and an extremely good shooter. He has more talent than Duke’s prize freshman point guard of last year, Kyrie Irving who went first in this year’s NBA Draft, and will be the talk around their campus. He’ll play both point guard and shooting guard and will be extremely fun to watch.
The final thing to watch this season is close to home. The University of South Dakota is entering their first year in the Summit League and it won’t be an easy transition.
The team could surprise some, but they will have to get adjusted to the higher level of competition they will face. The Coyotes’ first game is this Friday at Nebraska, which should be a good test to see where USD basketball is at. Their first conference game is on Dec. 1 vs. Oakland. Best of luck to the Coyotes and hopefully they enjoy a successful first year in the Summit League Conference.